Ultra-processed foods are everywhere. Supermarkets, petrol stations, vending machines, convenience stores, grocery shops and other stores populate them. But are they foods, as in foods providing us health and nutrition? They are tasty and addictive but is fuelling the non-communicable diseases that afflict us.
According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, the best examples of ultra-processed foods are hotdogs, candy, soft drinks, breakfast cereals, chicken nuggets and chips. Ultra-processed foods are foods that have gone through multiple processes like moulding, extrusion and milling. They also typically contain multiple ingredients that have undergone multiple processes as well.
They typically contain little more than refined flour, sugar, fats, salt and many food flavours and additives – cheap stuff used to replace natural foods. They are also made to last and can stay long on the shelves. Thus a lot of preservatives too.
Many studies have already established that ultra-processed foods can increase the risk of developing certain conditions like obesity, cancer, Type 2 diabetes, gallstones and cardiovascular diseases.
These foods are a recipe for poor health and nutrition.